Doug Stanger got on his bicycle and rode a century - 100 miles - on Sept. 6 in the Battle Against Hunger Bike Ride. The ride, which is expected to take about eight hours to complete, is meant to encourage riders to raise money for an agency of their choice.
Stanger and three other local residents, Rachel Ludwig and Jamie and Terry Fischer, all of Northfield, used money they raised from the ride to benefit the Jewish Family Service Food Pantry in Margate, which serves residents of Atlantic and Cape May counties.
Ludwig took a 200-mile route from Gettysburg, Pa., to Washington Crossing, Pa. The Fischers joined Stanger on the 100-mile route.
The foursome pledged to raise $3,000 for the food pantry. Stanger says they're almost at their goal.
"We pledged to raise $750 each, we're almost there," Stanger said. "We're at $2,500, we're still taking donations and people can go to the website and donate."
The minimum fundraising goal for participants in the bike ride is $750, to be donated to the selected organization. Stanger said that in this way, people are raising money for an issue that speaks strongly to them, and 100 percent of the proceeds benefit that charity.
Stanger, a former JFS president, previously participated in bike rides to support the American Cancer Society and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, but he said he wanted to support the JFS food pantry this time because hunger is an issue that remains fairly unseen among Americans.
"I think that the issue of hunger in America is something that is not talked about and it's a conversation we need to be having," Stanger said. "I do the cancer ride too, and everyone has someone they know whose been affected by cancer, but hunger is one of those things that is not recognized in our country."
Stanger also said that this year, it is especially important to pay attention to the hunger problem in communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. He said that now more than ever, the JFS food pantry needs support.
"The fact that community members come to us and say, 'We've come up with this idea for raising money and doing what we love,' it makes a positive difference," said Beth Joseph, director of communication for JFS.
The JFS food pantry serves about 200 people per month from Atlantic and Cape May counties.
Andrea Steinberg, executive director of JFS and a Linwood resident, said contributions such as Stanger's are what keep the pantry functioning.
"To have dedicated people is so meaningful to us," she said. "Financial contributions allow us to take it so much further; we very much appreciate the efforts of raising the dollars."
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To find out more about the Battle Against Hunger Bike Ride or to donate to riders, see battleagainsthunger.org.